Report by Jon Green
After the long journey to Tavistock, Rovers showed no signs of tiredness and were unlucky to go down to a very narrow defeat in a game that had a number of positives that will please manager, Kyle Tooze.
Paulton made a bright start and in the first couple of minutes Ed Butcher turned in a tantalising cross and forced the first of many corners over the whole game. Dan McBeam was looking lively on the left and there were few signs of the team that have struggled to create chances recently.
So it was surprising, and somewhat against the run of play, that Rovers conceded another early goal. A problem that’s been dogging the team for several matches. In the 7th minute, Tavistock found Joseph O’Loughlin on the left who fired past Frankie Phillips in the Rovers goal.
Undeterred, Rovers continued to press and in the 12th minutes, McBeam found Jamarni Langlais in the six yard box. His touch just deserted him at the wrong moment and he slipped and the chance was gone. A couple more corners came and went without the Tavistock keeper being unduly threatened.
Tavistock added their second in the 20th minute when Sam Pashen was adjudged to have clipped Jack Endacott as he ran into the box from the right. Danger man, Liam Prynn stepped up to slot the ball in past an unlucky Phillips who had guessed the right way. Another chance came for ‘The Lambs’ soon after but Phillips was equal to it.
It would have been easy for heads to drop at this point, but Paulton continued to push forward and in the 27th minute Toozey fired a decent shot from the edge of the box but it was straight at the keeper and he held it firm. Seconds after, Ed Butcher twisted and turned in the box to create some space for a shot but it dragged just wide of the post.
A further chance came for Toozey as half time approached but this time it went high. Tavistock had the lead but on the run of play, Rovers were still well in the game.
Recent signing, Harry Barter, replaced Will Armstrong at half time and Rovers carried on as they had finished. It took just five minutes to pull a goal back. Some great work by Dan McBeam on the left gave him the chance to square the ball to Jamarni Langlais in the box. He took a touch before hitting it low into the left of the goal.
The confidence lifted even further and Rovers started to play in a manner that hadn’t been seen for a few weeks. Tavistock responded to the goal with a period of pressure themselves with one attempt being deflected over the bar with a last second block. It was one of few chances for the home team as Paulton restricted their attacks. Rovers were pressing from the front forcing Tavistock to play longer balls that were picked off by Neil Martin who marshalled the back four.
In the 69th minute, Rovers thought they had the equaliser they deserved. From a free kick deep on the right, Chris Peck thought he had scored after poking into the net but the ref ruled out the strike when Kyle Tooze was adjudged to have fouled the keeper. It appeared soft but probably one of those ones you are happy to go for you if the situation was reversed.
More corners came for Rovers, surely into double figures by this point, but that clear cut chance wouldn’t quite come. In the 82nd minute, Ed Butcher powered down the left and struck a sweet shot which was deflected just wide.
Deep into injury time, that golden chance did come. After a scramble in the box the ball fell to Toozey near the penalty spot with the goal at his mercy. You’d bet your house on the net bulging but he didn’t quite connect cleanly and the shot was soft and easy for the keeper to take.
The game ended and the disappointment was palpable. Not because the team had been outplayed this time but because they hadn’t got what they deserved. Rovers had played with a confidence unseen for some time and deserved a point at least. Certainly the team looked together and the singing on the coach on the way home attested that morale was still good.
There were a number positives to take out of the game. Dan McBeam looks confident after his consistent run in the side. Ed Butcher looks closer to his best after his bad injury and the pressing and chances created will have pleased the boss, Toozey.
We now have two crucial games coming up. Firstly a trip to Evesham on Tuesday evening before Westbury visit The Winterfield Stadium on Friday for a 7.30pm kick-off.